OMAHA, Neb. -- Creighton's high-octane offense will take on Wisconsin's nation-best defense to highlight semifinal round play of the 12th Annual Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational on Nov. 23rd.
Semifinal round pairings were announced today by tournament organizers. Arkansas will take on Arizona State at 6 pm Central on ESPN3 before the Creighton-Wisconsin match-up begins at 9 pm Central on either ESPN2 or ESPNU. One night later, the CU-UW winner will take on the UA-ASU victor for the event title at 10 pm Central on ESPN2, while the CU-UW loser will face the UA-ASU loser at 7 pm Central on ESPN3.
Las Vegas Invitational Schedule (Games played at Orleans Arena) Nov. 23 (all times Central)
1 pm • Longwood vs. Florida A&M
3:30 pm • Cornell vs. Presbyterian
6 pm • Arkansas vs. Arizona State (ESPN3)
9 pm • Wisconsin vs. Creighton (ESPN2 or ESPNU)
Nov. 24 (all times Central)
2 pm • Longwood/Florida A&M Loser vs. Cornell/Presbyterian Loser
4:30 pm • Longwood/Florida A&M Winner vs. Cornell/Presbyterian Winner
7 pm • Arkansas/Arizona State Loser vs. Wisconsin/Creighton Loser (ESPN3)
10 pm • Arkansas/Arizona State Winner vs. Wisconsin/Creighton Winner (ESPN2)
Creighton ranked ninth nationally last season with 79.2 points per game and were second in field goal percentage at 50.4 percent. Wisconsin led the nation in scoring defense (53.2 ppg.) for the second time in five years, and has been among the nation's top 10 in scoring defense each of the past six campaigns.
Creighton and Wisconsin have met just once previously, a 1949 encounter in Madison won by the Badgers. Creighton is 1-1 all-time vs. Arkansas and 2-4 all-time vs. Arizona State.
Prior to arriving in Las Vegas, Creighton will also host two schools among the four-team pool of Longwood, Florida A&M, Cornell and Presbyterian.
This year's Las Vegas Invitational field includes:
Creighton finished the 2011-12 campaign ranked 21st in the Associated
Press poll after tying a school-record for wins in a 29-6 season. The
Bluejays will return nine of their top 10 scorers from that squad,
losing only point guard Antoine Young, and figure to be a preseason
top-25 squad in the fall. First-team All-American and Naismith Player of
the Year finalist Doug McDermott (22.9 ppg., 8.2 rpg.) ranked third
nationally in scoring and became the first sophomore ever named Larry
Bird Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year. Center Gregory
Echenique was named MVC Defensive Player of the Year after averaging 9.7
points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocked shots per game, while fellow
senior-to-be Grant Gibbs led the team with 5.0 assists and 1.1 steals
per game from the wing position. Creighton ranked among the nation’s
best offensive teams, ranking second in assists per game (17.6) and
field goal percentage (.504), third in three-point field goal percentage
(.424), fifth in assist/turnover ratio (1.46) and ninth in scoring
offense (79.2 ppg.). The Bluejays are coached by Greg McDermott, who
will enter his third year on The Hilltop with a 52-22 record.
Wisconsin is coming off a 26-win season and its third Sweet 16
appearance in the last five years. The Badgers will look to replace
All-American Jordan Taylor in 2012-13, but return four of five starters
from last year’s squad and over 70 percent of the team’s scoring.
Forwards Ryan Evans (11.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and Jared Berggren (10.5 ppg,
4.9 rpg) each earned All-Big Ten honorable mention a year ago and
anchored a Badgers defense that allowed an NCAA-best 53.2 points per
game last season. The all-time wins leader at Wisconsin, Bo Ryan will
enter his 12th season with the Badgers owning a record of 268-101
The University of Arkansas is in its second season under Head Coach Mike
Anderson and is coming off a successful 2011-12 campaign. The
Razorbacks were 18-14 last year with signature wins over three ranked
teams including SEC Tournament Champion Vanderbilt, Mississippi State
and Big 10 co-champion Michigan. The Razorbacks return 77 percent of
their scoring and 73 percent of their rebounding from a year ago as well
as second-team All-SEC guard BJ Young, the SEC’s three-point percentage
leader in Mardracus Wade and Hunter Mickelson who set an Arkansas
school record for blocks in season by a freshman. The Razorbacks also
get the services of preseason All-SEC forward Marshawn Powell who missed
most of the 2012 season to injury.
Arizona State returns three players in 7-2 junior Jordan Bachynski, 6-7
sophomore Jon Gilling and 6-2 guard Chris Colvin who made dramatic
improvements over the course of last season. Bachynski averaged in
double digits in the final 13 games, Gilling added a career-high 21
points vs. Arizona in early March and averaged nine points per game in
the final 22 contests and Colvin averaged 8.7 points in the final 15
games. Also returning is 6-6 senior wing Carrick Felix (10.5 points per
game), as 2009-10 Pac-10 Coach of the Year Herb Sendek will look to add
to his three 20-win seasons at Arizona State, with highly-touted recruit
Jahii Carson set to join the team at the point guard position.